Mumia Abu-Jamal supporters gather outside hearing for new trial

Supporters rallied outside the Criminal Justice Center during a hearing on Oct. 26, 2022 to determine if Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of police office Daniel Faulkner, would receive a new trial. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Supporters rallied outside the Criminal Justice Center during a hearing on Oct. 26, 2022 to determine if Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of police office Daniel Faulkner, would receive a new trial. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Several dozen supporters of Mumia Abu-Jamal gathered outside a Philadelphia courtroom Wednesday as a judge heard arguments on whether he should get another trial.

Abu-Jamal is currently serving life in prison after being convicted in the 1981 death of police officer Daniel Faulkner.

“It’s about time that Mumia is free,” said Sarah Torres, who came from Detroit for Wednesday’s rally. “It’s been too long. He’s innocent.”

Sarah Torres lives in Detroit but came to Philadelphia to rally outside the Criminal Justice Center during a hearing on Oct. 26, 2022 to determine if Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of police office Daniel Faulkner, would receive a new trial. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
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Abu-Jamal’s case is seen by some as a symbol of a broken criminal justice system. Supporters say he was wrongly convicted — and see him as a political prisoner.

Gwendolyn Debrow organized a bus of demonstrators to come down from New York. She’s been pushing for Abu-Jamal to be freed for two decades.

”The man has been in prison for 40 years for something that he did not do,” she said. “The police know he did not do it.”

Supporters rallied outside the Criminal Justice Center during a hearing to determine if Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of police office Daniel Faulkner, would receive a new trial. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
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Several boxes of documents related to the case were found in 2018 — and Abu-Jamal’s lawyers say they contain information that casts doubt on the state’s witnesses. Prosecutors also struck numerous Black potential jurors in the trial, leaving a mostly white jury.

MOVE member Pam Africa joined a rally outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia during a hearing on Oct. 26, 2022 to determine if Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of police office Daniel Faulkner, would receive a new trial. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

Abu-Jamal’s death sentence was dropped in 2011.

Faulkner’s family and friends —  as well as the police union — believe the case against Abu-Jamal is strong. They want him to stay in prison for the rest of his life.

Abu-Jamal supporters have also called for him to be released over medical issues.

Madusa Carter joined a rally outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia during a hearing on Oct. 26, 2022 to determine if Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted in the 1981 murder of police office Daniel Faulkner, would receive a new trial. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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